vegetarian muscle

Give chops the chop: meat-free tips to build muscle

By Thomas Breathnach

Nothing says I love you like a juicy rib-eye steak or a tasty leg of lamb, but with studies showing red meat increases the risk of colon cancer, it might not be a bad idea to cut down that intake. It doesn’t have to mean a total diet over hall though – try starting out with one meat-free day a week. Your waistline will thank you – and so will your wallet.

Complete protein fix
You can get all the protein you need from soy based foods like tofu or legumes. As well as being a fantastic source of protein, soy is also rich in muscle building glutamine. If you’re feeling nostalgic – try using a low salt chicken stock cube when cooking tofu to adapt to the flavour.

Mix it up
Vary your diet with foods like nuts, beans, rice, grains, granola, lentils and hummus to ensure you are getting all eight essential amino acids. Kidney beans have a great chunky texture and work great with cheddar quesadillas or wholegrain tortillas.

Go dairy
It’s easier than you might imagine to get plenty of protein from vegetarian foods with milk and cheese. Stick to low fat products to avoid excess saturated fats and try goat’s milk which contains less fat and more protein. Goat’s cheese, with beetroot, rocket and pine-nuts makes an awesome salad.

Fat fix
Don’t forget about getting enough quality fats. Sunflower seeds and walnuts are all excellent sources of both protein and fat. Always keep a pack of almonds in your car to save you hitting the drive-thru.

Most protein shakes are rich in vitamins but make sure you are getting an intake of vitamin B12 which is only found in animal products. You can get a vitamin B Complex injection from the chemist to boost any deficiencies which can lead to burn out. That failing, a good multivitamin is a must-have to aid muscle growth.

November 09 –

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